Random Pitching Thoughts
So here we are 43 games away from the end of the season. Only two teams in the NL have team ERAs under 4.00 and the Mets are one of them (heading into last night's action anyway). They are second to only the San Diego Padres. They Mets have not been a product of their homefield either as they still own a 4.00 on the road and a .251 BAA compared to a 3.87 ERA and a .239 BAA at home. The Padres on the other hand are sniffing 4.00 on the road and 3.12 at home which is just a huge disparity.
The Mets also have the second lowest OBPA behind San Diego with .317 and the third lowest SLGA with .395. They are ninth in the league in homers allowed, but that is not really a huge surprise with the flyball pitchers the Mets have in their rotation.
In regards to the rotation, the Mets are fourth in the leage in ERA with 4.17 and have a .245 BAA. More importantly though, their four main starters have a 3.62 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP with Glavine posting the highest in each category. If you look at the Mets top three starters, they have a 8.10 K/9, 1.18 WHIP, and a 3.38 ERA. If a team had one starter with that line, they would be happy. The Mets have three starters who have been extremely solid so far this season.
The New York bullpen is second with a 3.47 ERA behind only San Deigo's who has a 3.06 ERA. Of course in the playoffs, the top starters and the top relievers are most vital. The Mets top four relievers currently own a 1.04 WHIP, 8 k/9, and a 2.58 ERA. Heilman has worked his ERA down to 3.60 and Sosa has looked great out of the bullpen. Even if you add Mota into the mix, the WHIP is 1.10, the ERA is 3.10, and the K/9 is around 8.
Of course many people are down on Mota, but the guy still owns a 97 mph fastball and could still be useful. Homers kill relievers as they are in for such short amount of time and one homer has devastating results. Mota's HR/9 is 1.41 and if you compare that to his 0.93 career HR/9 rate of 1.00 last year, you'd have to think Mr. Sample Size is playing a part in Mota's horrendous showing. His walk rate is actually better than normal (however slightly) and I have to believe that he has not been as bad as his numbers dictate.
We've spoken about his approach and leaning on the change-up too much and I think there is still a shot the '06 Mota surfaces that helped out the Mets pen late last season. Also, I think it bears noting his .2 inning, six run outing and two three run outings when he first returned are heavily skewing his numbers. While that still shows he has the propensity to blow up, he still has the tools and with him it has always seemed like a mental thing. I'm still holding out hope the Mets will have five or six dependable relievers.
NAME ERA DIPS ERA+The Mediocre
Billy Wagner 1.55 2.62 270
Pedro Feliciano 2.76 3.40 151
Joe Smith 3.03 3.73 138
Orlando Hernandez 3.12 4.22 134
Oliver Perez 3.46 4.19 121
John Maine 3.53 4.03 118
Aaron Heilman 3.60 3.99 116
NAME ERA DIPS ERA+The Ugly
Brian Lawrence 4.09 3.55 102
Aaron Sele 4.12 4.34 101
Jorge Sosa 4.15 4.38 101
Name ERA DIPS ERA+What does all this mean? Well, it reinforces the belief that the guys we think we can feel comfortable in have performed well enough that should actually feel comfortable with them. With the Exception of The Duque, no one is really overachieving and The Duque isn't overachieving by all that much. He's been money for the Mets this year, but I think we all know he is not a 3.12 ERA guy and more of a 3.75 to 4.00 ERA guy, which is not a bad thing. I'll trust The Duque any day of the week.
Tom Glavine 4.25 4.92 98
Scott Schoeneweis 5.06 4.92 82
Guillermo Mota 5.40 4.11 77
As for Sele, the guy has been...well...average. He has actually been pretty good and has filled in his role as well as could have been expected (of course he had to blow up as I wrote this). Lawrence has also been a nice surprise in his two starts giving the Mets league average starts and a chance to win and that is all you can ask out of your fifth starter.
As for Glavine, he has been a below league average pitcher this year and you hate to rain on the 300 win parade, but he has been laboring. An ERA+ of 110 is nothing to really brag about and below 100 is pretty bad. $10 million could change one's mind rather quickly, but I think Glavine is going to retire gracefully this year. As for Mota, his DIPS ERA suggests he has not been as bad as his statline would seem to indicate and expect a better finish for him.
Overall, I feel pretty comfortable with this Met rotation if the bats can continue their resurgence.
Lowry (forearm) had a successful return to the rotation Monday, holding the Pirates to two runs over seven innings to pick up win No. 13 on the season.
Spin: Lowry allowed six hits, walked five and struck out three after leaving his last start with forearm tightness last week. His 3.28 ERA despite a 1.46 WHIP and 79:77 K:BB ratio defies logic and explanation.
"Safe," Byrnes said, emphatically. ``But I would have called myself out. It's got to be a no-doubt, 110 percent safe at that point of the game if [the umpire is] going to call me safe.
"He pitched a no-hitter. He deserved it. He pitched his butt off. It would have been a shame if [the umpire] had called me safe on that play. But when I slowed it down [on tape] and looked at it, my foot was on the bag as the throw got there. That's the tie-goes-to-the-runner rule. If that's the rule, then I was safe. But as a baseball fan, I agree it was a no-hitter. He pitched a no-hitter."
Mike (Queens): Will the Mets sign Brandon Efferson?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:07 PM ET ) Not sure, because the Mets are staunch believers in sticking to slot. It's silly . . . I think they could get Efferson for under $500,000 and they have the money. And that might seem like a lot, but it's not. If you believe in your scouts, and you find talented players, the signing bonus is a pittance compared to what they can be worth.
$500,000 for Efferson would be a steal and not a ridiculous sum of money. I truly hope the Mets do not drop the ball on this one.
Jack (Clarinda, Iowa): Let me get this straight: the MLB -- in an effort to help small-market teams -- implemented these slot prices, and instead of helping, it has actually made things worse? That is funny, really.
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:35 PM ET ) Exactly. Except no one is laughing. MLB is angry that teams are breaking slot. Clubs are angry that the draft has become a hugely unlevel playing field. Agents are angry that the slots were arbitrarily reduced 10 percent this year.
Which is sort of the point. The guys who were busting through MLB's wishes are the teams who have money and who are on top and a lot of the guys who were trying to behave were the teams in need.
Jake (Baltimore, MD): What is the problem with MLB being mad at you? What can they actually do to punish you for going over slot?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:43 PM ET ) Very little. Yell and scream. Threaten to hold back a perk like hosting an All-Star Game, but that happens once every 20-30 years for a club. Maybe give you less money from revenue sharing or the central fund. But nothing significant.
It is entirely possible the Mets feel the need to be on the commissioner's side with their bid to host the All-Star game, but this is about winning games and not about hosting All-Star games, right? I mean the Yankees surely don't care and will flex their muscle to get everything they want. Sign Efferson over slot, leave a flaming bag of poo on MLB's Park Ave doorstep, and get ready to have the All-Star game.
For three innings, he looked like the Pedro Martinez of old. He had good velocity, solid command, and according to one observer, Martinez was "making them look like A-ballers." Which, in fact, his opposition was. Martinez's second start in went relatively well, despite losing his perfect outing in the fourth when he started "playing around." Martinez had upper 80's velocity in the first inning, and went to 80 pitches if you include the ones he threw on the side after coming out. One noticeable thing is that he appears to have shortened his motion. If so, it's likely that he's still a bit tentative. The outing was a big positive for Martinez and the Mets, one that should put him on track to move up for his next start, probably to Double-A, and probably this weekend. Coming up with a real timeframe for his return to the Mets is still unclear, but it looks like it should happen during August. From what we saw today, Martinez can help the Mets, but I'm less sure that he can be a difference maker.
The bottom line is the more he plays the more he gets comfortable and the better he will be. It seems as though he will be getting more playing time which is definitely a good thing as it is plain to see he adds a spark to this club. What is weird about Milledge is he looked smooth out in center but tends to be a bit bad with his reads on the corners and more so in right field.
Milledge has the ability to cover up the mistakes he does make with his speed and for what it's worth, these are the types of things that will help Milledge later. A ball slicing into the corner is not something he normally sees in center and the more exposure he has to those types of hits the better he'll be. The balls come off the bat differently when you are in right, center, or left, but it is certainly something that he should be able to adjust to which basically tells me it is about just getting more time to get comfortable and nothing to get truly alarmed about.
1) Eric Bedard is rather nasty. Not that you needed me to tell you that, but I'm just sayin'...
2) Shelly Duncan should hold off on the curtain call thing if he ties the game up. Hitting the go ahead run? Maybe. The tie run? No...does this kid curtain call on grounders in which he moves people over too?
3) Michael Kay's head is still extremely scary and I applaud his mom for being able to pass that head through her birth canal.
4) Mo left some fat pitches over the plate in the tenth and did not look sharp at all. The Yankees need him to be on point as they have little room for failure.
5) Phil Hughes looks hittable right now, but showed flashes of being sick. His curveball is extremely good and he just looks like the throws the baseball with no effort.
6) Joe Torre is still an ugly man.